What is Assange charged with?

The U.S. has charged Assange with publishing classified documents exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and torture at Guantanamo Bay.

Did anyone get hurt as a result of the publications?

The US prosecution says they have found no evidence that anyone has come to any harm as a result of these publications. New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager said he witnessed Assange take 'extraordinary precautions' to redact names and ensure no one came to harm.

More: Nicky Hager gives evidence for Julian Assange at extradition hearing - stuff

Is Assange a journalist?

This question has been raised with the intention to divert our concern. The answer is not important. The US prosecution seeks to criminalise anyone publishing secret documents exposing evidence of their state crimes. This is what Assange did. This is what good journalists do. 

Assange is an accredited journalist and has won numerous awards for journalism. If he is not a journalist he is certainly a publisher.

More: 1300 Journalists Speak Up For Assange

Is Assange a hacker?

The US does not accuse Assange of hacking to obtain any of the information he published. The files were supplied by a whistle-blower (allegedly Chelsea Manning) who had security clearance to access the files. The one charge of 'conspiracy to commit computer intrusion' has been tied to an alleged failed attempt to help a source protect their identity. Protecting a source's identity is what a good journalist does.

More: Nils Melzer, UN - Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

Was he charged with an offence in Sweden?

No, he was never charged and Sweden refused to interview him, meaning he could not defend himself. The UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer's findings show there is no verifiable evidence he was even accused of a crime. The woman herself said she was shocked by the allegations and said that the police 'just wanted to get their hands on him'. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Julian made every reasonable attempt to co-operate, and that it was the Swedish authorities who denied justice for seven years.

The UNWGAD found that this abuse of process amounted to 'arbitrary detention'. The UN Rapporteur on Torture found that it was deliberate 'psychological torture'. Swedish authorities closed their 'preliminary investigation' the same day he was taken into UK custody. On that same day, the US unsealed their secret indictment and extradition request.

Whatever the case, none of this forms any part of the current prosecution against Assange - which is a flagrant attack on the public's right to call truth to power, and prevent wars - both of which pose a dire threat to justice, and protection against sexual violence.

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Nils Melzer, UN - Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange